Top ten boxes of bento love for 2012

These are the top ten most-viewed bentos of 2012.  Not surprisingly, giveaway share posts and foodie penpal reveals snuck in the year’s most popular posts, too!  People like giveaways and surprises.

Number 10, veggie burger and veggies:

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Number 9, carrot maki:

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8, spicy udon noodles (I should make these more often, they’re really good!):

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7, edamame ‘fried’ rice:

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6, shake and bake tofu:

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5, quinoa pasta marinara:

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4, seitan stirfry:

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3, pan-fried ravioli:

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2, pbj for my son (this surprises me…):

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and…………. picnic bentos is the most-viewed bento post of 2012:

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Thank you all for reading the exciting saga of what I pack for lunch!  Plenty more to come in 2013 🙂

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Cupcake Friday!

Woo hoo – being that my course is done, and I have one more blissful week off work left, it’s back to regularly scheduled Cupcake Fridays!  Most of the time, I take photos from my files, but I actually made these cupcakes this morning for the family dinner we’re having tonight.

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I tried to cupcake-ify a really moist chocolate cake recipe, and while I’m not a fan of how it turned out (they rose outwards instead of upwards, but it makes the absolute best chocolate cake ever in one or two layers…), these are for family, and they probably won’t be able to tell!  It’s okay to experiment in the name of the cupcake cult.

I took most of a package of mint crème Oreos that I got in the US (then saw sitting happily in my local supermarket a week after I got back – oops), smooshed them in the food processor, then whipped them into a simple vanilla buttercream icing.  I then halved the rest of the package and used them to garnish.

Cupcake on!

In which Lizzie’s bento and sewing obsessions collide: Bento bags!

I have a huge stash of fabric.  We’re not going to talk here about the number of work-in-progress projects I have, but today I decided to tackle the stash, and make some bento/lunch bags for my best friends!  Yes, Christmas was yesterday, but I honestly didn’t have time beforehand to whip out the sewing machine…

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The tutorial comes from here: http://www.diaryofaquilter.com/2010/07/fat-quarter-bag.html, although I augmented it a little for the bag on the bottom, and had to improvise for the butterfly fabric due to cutting it in the wrong direction – but yay for bias tape!  The irony here is that the bag is intended for my friend who’s been sewing her whole life and is currently teaching senior textiles – hehehehehehe….. I know she’ll be forgiving.

What’s really funny is that the middle bag is the fabric I made my living room curtains out of – I promised a yoga mat bag if there was fabric leftover – there wasn’t for a yoga bag, but there was for a lunch bag!  Yay!

For my regular/regular-ish readers, I’m posting these on my blog because I’m wondering if you’d be interested in one of these bags to go into a giveaway?  (Best friends have to appreciate, but the blogosphere doesn’t have to!)

 

The beautiful blogger award

The wonderful, fellow British Columbian http://dispatchesfromthegypsyroller.wordpress.com/ nominated me (a while ago, sorry) for a beautiful blogger award!  How lovely!  Her blog is full of vegetarian eats including recipes, with a focus on healthy food, interlaced with the perspective of life in an RV with a toddler.  Check it out 🙂

I am very happy to accept this award, and to have the time to do so.  I apologize to other bloggers, as I know they’ve nominated me for awards too, but they came at a very busy time in the school year.  Family > career > blogging.  I honour the individuals who also nominated me for blog awards that I just couldn’t accept at the time. So, the rules for accepting this blog are to complete a couple of tasks.  The first is to link the pic:

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The second is to thank the person who nominated you (which I like to do before pasting pictures, quite frankly – it’s very humbling that another blogger recognizes my little corner of the internet).

The third is to state seven things about myself:

1.  I love food.  Here it is, 2 days before Christmas, and I have a game-plan and ingredients for a wonderful Christmas dinner in which I am feeding ‘orphans’ an insane amount of hopefully fantastic food!

2.  I am actually very smart and really enjoy learning.  I’m taking courses by correspondence, and love how I am learning new things to enhance my teaching practice.

3.  I enjoy CBC radio, especially Q with Jian Gomeshi.  I Q you!

4.  I am a geek – I think most people with blogs probably are a little bit, but I full on embrace my video-gaming, card game-playing lifestyle.  Graphic Tee shirt on!

5.  I am very picky with how I do laundry.  I won’t let my husband do it any more because he doesn’t do it right (probably more to do with things that go in the dryer that shouldn’t than my pickiness, but it’s definitely a factor).

6.  I do what I can to look after the planet and tread lightly on it.

7.  I used to really love to knit, until my wrists couldn’t take it any more, so I bought a sewing machine a year or so ago and tried that out instead – creativity galore and my wrists can handle it just nicely.

And the final part is nominating 7 bloggers and letting them know.  I read lots of blogs, as I enjoy them immensely, but here are the ones that are currently particularly interesting:

1.  http://tamarindstreet.wordpress.com/ – for foodie and Japanophile culture and tasty home-made bentos.

2.  http://memoirsofakidd.wordpress.com/ – for a slice of BC life – Kidd is very like me, working with kids, student life, and is an all-round lovely person who shares a journal on her blog.  She makes bento too – cool!

3.  http://jennovafoodblog.com/ – for blogging meeting serious discussion on nutrition.  Her approach is very different from my photo-and-quick-read-style in favour of in-depth analysis of nutrition, with sources cited.  Very interesting reading, and I love the pics of her climbing!

4.  http://sweetspellbaking.wordpress.com/ – for being an awesome foodie penpal, as well as yummy cooking and restaurant reviews.  I want to be in Toronto on the basis of her food writing, and I’m normally very happy being out here in BC!

5.  http://needlesspounds.com/ – an interesting approach to weight loss and maintenance over the long haul.  And bentos!

6.  http://mypursuitofhappinessandskinnyjeans.wordpress.com/ – life.  This blog is like reading a journal, and I enjoy it.

7.  http://theroxxbox.com/ – I have a bad habit of assuming people who are into bento know their way around the kitchen, but Roxx breaks the bentos down into planning, recipes, and presentation.  She’s amazing.

Absolutely freakin’ genius – the home salad bar

I wish I had thought of this.  I found it out there on the blogosphere, but now I can’t remember where/find it again.  If it is you, please let me know, and I will absolutely credit your blog with the utter genius of this idea.

OK, here’s what it is:
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A 2-layered container, with inserts, filled with tasty veggies and other salad ingredients.  It’s a craft supply container under the Snapware brand (I purchased this myself with my own personal funds, no freebies here!), was reasonably priced, is dishwasher safe (top rack only and you can see the water marks on the upper left hand corner), and is now sitting nicely in my fridge ready to fill up salads and wraps in a snap.

Not super-hungry for dinner?  A quick salad will be more nutritious than toast and jam, or instant noodles (my personal ‘not very hungry’ go-to dinner vices).  I’ve also made a very easy, tasty wrap, which is featured at the end of the post.  Not sure what side dish to make for either dinner or a bento?  Salad is waiting for you!

The only downside I can see is that for texture-sensitive persons, some foods may travel from one section to another and that can be bothersome.  Also, if you have an individual with allergies, you’d obviously have to keep allergenic ingredients out of the salad bar.  Other than that, salad bar on!

Here are some salad bar goodies in a wrap with some Tofurkey for my lunch tomorrow (snacks are greek yogurt in the morning, and a mandarin orange for the afternoon):

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More watermarks.  Maybe it’s time to up the rinse aid setting in the dishwasher.  Yay very hard water!

Lasagne, veggies

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A hot bento for a cold day.

Yes, I know I said I was on bento-blogging hiatus.  Old habits take a long time to change, so it was only natural last night to snap a photo of my bento.  I got a paper done on the weekend, but I have two sick boys (aged 11 and 49), and they’ve both been home today.  They’re pretty miserable, and now that I’m home, needy.  No online quiz for me tonight, so I may as well blog, right?

Veggie lasagne with home-made marinara and béchamel sauces, steamed green beans, and  butternut squash make up the bento.  The fruity coconut jelly makes up the tiniest dessert, just enough before I headed back to my classroom for the afternoon.